Periodontal or gum disease is an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth. It is a leading cause of tooth loss in American adults. It has also been linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other health problems.
Plaque is the sticky film of bacteria that is brushed and flossed away with proper oral care. When left on the teeth, plaque produces toxins that attack below the gum line in the sulcus, a shallow v-shaped crevice between the tooth and gums. This causes the bond between teeth and gums to break down. In the early stage of gum disease (gingivitis), gums may become red and swollen and bleed easily. In the more advanced stage (periodontal disease), teeth can loosen and fall out.
Good oral hygiene and regular dental examinations are essential in the prevention and early detection of gum disease – especially since you can have it without experiencing any warning signs.